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Kirk Tours CIRA Tower, Vows To Fight For Funding

Wed, 23 Oct 2013 16:49:04 CDT
By: Willis Kern

Kirk Tours CIRA Tower, Vows To Fight For Funding
Illinois' Republican US Senator is promising to do everything in his power to keep the Central Illinois Regional Airport's control tower from becoming involved in what he calls "sequestor politics." Mark Kirk toured the tower and told reporters afterward it makes no sense for local officials to have to generate money to keep the tower operating. He says that's due to the facility's economic impact as well as critical safety functions it performs.

"I will make sure that that lack of sense of what happened to Bloomington is heard at the highest level, all the way to the new Transportation Secretary, Secretary Fox."

Funding for the Bloomington tower and 250 other airports nationwide with contract tower operations was cut off last spring and central Illinois officials had developed a pool of funds in case the federal government didn't restore funding. In May, the closures were halted. Airport Authority Chair Paul Harmon says there aren't enough resources for local funding of the tower's operations long-term. He says it's the busiest airport in the country that was targeted for tower shutdown.

(Above, US Senator Mark Kirk (R-IL) talks with Bloomington-Normal Airport Authority Board Chair Paul Harmon after touring the CIRA control tower)

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